Camp near Harrison’s Landing
July 7th 1862
Your last has been received and read with much pleasure and I was glad to hear that you were well and hope this may find you the same. I am well at present as well as the boys from our way that are in the company. I hear that Allen H. is at home now and he will get over his partial seasoning to the Virginia camp life and soldiering but he is no worse off than thousands of others who have enlisted in the army and I hear by the papers that the President has called for 300,000 more men. Tell Willie not to be foolish and go, but be contented to stay at home where he is well off for he will find that soldiering is a poor way to pass one’s life—besides a hard way—and if he will take the advice of a brother in the mill, he will stay at home and be satisfied to let well off alone.
Since my last there appears to have been a great change made in McClellan’s policy. He has changed front nearly of the whole army and has got nearly all of our forces on the Potomac ¹ together so that we do not have so much front to protect. We have lost some in baggage but we have gained in forage and position. Nature has fortified for us here some and by slashing down the timber, we can render this point almost impassable. And with the assistance of the artillery and siege guns, a few men can hold this position and the rest can go forward to Richmond in their rear along the banks of the James River. Ever since this move began until within a few days, there has been fighting in the rear. But they found out that they had more than they could manage for they have been repulsed every time with loss. One of the Rebel prisoners taken said that it was the damnedest retreats he ever heard of and the loss on both sides is terrible. Before the three last days fighting, they allowed their loss to be 24,000 and ours 25, but everyone that I have seen that was in the fight says that their loss was 3 to our one. But when this miserable war is to come to a close, I do not know. There is more prospects now of the war continuing than there is of its closing but be patient and you will soon hear of victories on one side or the other.
It is so warm that I have to keep wiping the sweat here in the shade and so you must excuse this letter. Have you done anything about those tombstones yet? I should like to know that it was done and it might as well be done first as last. Give my respects to Nate and [ ] and tell him I should like to hear from him once more. But as it is so awful hot here today, I must close for the present. Write soon and remember your brother in the army. This is from A. H. Bancroft
Tip is well.
¹ Bancroft may have inadvertently written “Potomac” rather than the James River but it is also possible that at this juncture, he had no idea where he was in Virginia.